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We cooked a turkey this weekend, but I didn’t take any pictures since I was in a hurry. It was really good. On the other hand….I took some photos of a dish from Korea I tried to reproduce about a week ago: eel braised with radish. I also cooked a pajun (no pa unfortunately). Witness.

The pajun was good, but the eel….just okay. I think mackerel or some oily fish would be closer to the real deal. Or perhaps a more substantial eel like this guy.

If you are wondering about the odd title of the post I just found out who the one remaining subscriber is to this blog. Hi Nubia. When are you going to update Threadship?

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Been kind of busy, but decided to get this going again, mostly to take notes.

Typical Friday dinner: Had to use up some cider, broccoli, and turkey breast in the fridge. Andrea’s gone so I get to use as much fat as I feel like!

Turkey: Seared with chili powder/salt/pepper in olive oil. Added about 1 qt. apple cider and braised for ~10 minutes till just a touch pink inside (finishes cooking off the pan). Need to watch cider while reducing–can go from sauce to scorched in about five seconds. Finish with butter and fresh sage. Set aside to cook broccoli. Korean influence: chiles, sesasme oil/seeds, butter, garlic, shallots, salt, pepper. 15 minutes, including chopping.

Wine: Martorana Colonna (50% Nero D’avola/50% syrah). On sale–very dark color, strong\rich, needs air. Good with the turkey.

We ate this too quickly for a picture but trust me, it’s good.

  • wide pasta, preferably homemade
  • 1/4-1/3 lb. guanciale (aka jowl bacon)
  • ~4 lbs vegetables (I used about 2lbs cherry tomatoes, 1 lb chard, a few small eggplant, and an onion from our garden)
  • a strong, washed-rind cheese
  • red pepper flakes/pepper/basil etc…

Cook the pasta and reserve a couple ladlefuls of the starchy water before draining. Render the guanciale till almost crispy. I added the onion and eggplant and cooked for a while, then the chard, and finally the tomatoes. The eggplant was I then put in the pasta, the reserved water, and cheese, and then turned off the heat. I then added the herbs and spices to taste. Really awesome if you manage to track down the jowl bacon and cheese. I suspect almost any combination of vegetables would be tasty with that.

tomatoes

I thought that sungolds were indeterminate, but they all seem to be coming at once. I also bagged eight big cucumbers–sheesh!

Andrea & I toasted each others birthdays at the Publican over the weekend. If you haven’t heard of the place, give it a look–it’s pretty darn good.

preserved_lemons

In lieu of our trip to Morocco in a few weeks,my sister sent me a very thoughtful present: a Moroccan cookbook and a jar of homemade preserved lemons. I guess it worked, since I’ve made some Moroccanish stuff the last couple days. Yesterday we had lamb meatballs using lamb from our market that were quite yummy. According to the book, Algerians put eggs on top of their lamb meatballs, which sounded great, but I was feeling a little pudgy from last week’s Gordon conference. Instead I made some cold, minted peas which was fitting considering it was 95 F outside. With the big haul from the garden today, I decided to make a couscous salad with cukes, tomatoes, herbs (tons of parsley, mint, basil, and lavender) with a green olive/preserved lemon dressing. Omomomo…it was pretty great. The olives were stuffed with garlic so the whole thing ended up being wonderfully briny and smooth. I really haven’t worked with preserved lemons before, so I rinsed out about half a lemon and emulsed it with a lot of olive oil. It was like an exotic, savory curd afterward. Anyway, here’s the evidence.

couscous_salad

I also found some pictures from a little adventure the other day. Rather than dragging the dusty weber out, I grilled some squid using some tinfoil, a cooling rack, and my most powerful burner. It worked suprisingly well. I then used said grilled squid in a pa jun with some pickled radish and green onions. So good.

pajun

Not that market, the farmer’s market!  With the first frost predicted in the coming days, we say goodbye to the wonder and beauty that is our Oak Park Farmer’s Market.  When fruits and vegetables good for little else than decoration crowd the grocery, our Market has supported our culinary adventures with bright tastes and more nutrients.

Since our hero has been spending his nights with Lady Synchrotron and his days counting sheep, I filled the role and brought back this little bounty.  Pies, roasted veggies, cabbage experiments, and nummy apples await.  Hopefully, our hero will rejoin the daytime living by then and partake.

Who knows when our hero will remember this humble little blog!  He’s been occupied with designing a chamber for a mid-winter beam run, working on a book chapter, and fleshing out some explanations for out-of-phase crystalline film behaviors.  And he thinks I don’t listen.  In the meantime, our little household is chugging along!  This past Saturday, we had separate but equally important causes to tend: Tim’s, to ensure that we would eat delicious vegetables through the winter, and mine, to do what I could to help Barack and Michelle move their lil munchkins into the White House.

Clockwise: Some homemade tomato sauce, baked Hubbard squash (the farmers recommended dropping the squash from a balcony to open it), and blanched corn stripped from the cob.  The end result will be more photogenic, but having reserves is endlessly reassuring.  Bread-n-butter pickles!

Next: A standing-room-only crowd of volunteers at Illinois’ 7th District Democratic Headquarters; a man giving a spontaneous speech about how we are realizing MLK’s vision of judging a man by the content of his character; chaotically and democratically splitting up into cars for the 2.5 hr ride to Michigan; the Kalamazoo Democratic Headquarters.  My group spent half the day registering voters in a subsidized housing development and the other half talking to undecideds about where they stand and what would convince them.  We were only five people, but beyond the actual contacts we made, the presence of volunteers for a candidate is sometimes a strong message alone.  Or so I hope.

Apparently Chicago is prone to hurricanes. First Gustav and then Ike, with a vengeance. With all the flooded roads between here and Argonne it took at least an hour each way in the car. I guess I’ll bike again tomorrow since that’s a shorter-feeling 90 minutes. The one downside: the stench of mildew and sewage at certain points along the way.

In other news…not much going on! Postdoc is humming along well I guess and I’m still cooking a lot. Although I’m dreading the demise of the farmer’s market in October. Andrea is spending about 14 hours a day on her sewing machine, so I guess that was a good b-day present on my part. Honestly, I haven’t felt much urge to update this l’il website since she’s been out here, but I’ll try to once in a while.

Here are some pictures I found on the camera…explanations below.

(working across) nanoprobe, taken downstream; my peach b-day cake; new, nappable couch with our heroes; new, nappable couch with Andrea and Nubia (not exactly chopped liver); Andrea’s homemade beer cozies (get yours now!); a flock of Fisters; four pictures from a fancy dinner I made (local cheeses from down the street, beet salad, corn flan, scallops and roasted cipollini, shrimp with toasted cumin, ricotta/marscapone/lemoncurd/berry tart); Lester and his new, homemade cat toy; a bunch of tomatoes prior to getting sauced.

What a weekend!  Team Tim and Andrea just returned from a sun- and fun-filled tour of Southern Michigan.  While the casual citizen of the world might yawn and roll over to the words ‘Southern Michigan,’ TTA now know better.  Peaches, blueberries, wines, grape vodka, sun, sand, waves, and small-town fairs, (with sequined horse-riding youth) greeted us just over an hour outside our hustling Chicago.  Had you any idea?  Neither did we!

After filling up on cheese grits and banana pancakes at the legendary Sweet Maple Cafe, we drove through Indiana as quickly as possible and headed to our midwest paradise!  Those words are no longer an oxymoron!

The wineries out there were really cute and homegrown, with mostly friendly folks pouring lots of wine.  I think the Round Barn was the Team favorite, which was purchased in Indiana and moved –in pieces– to MI, where nice Amish folks reassembled it for our pleasure.  They had some fruity dessert wines and a grape vodka that made a smooth martini, and Tim couldn’t stop posing in front of the barn.  We also ran into a “town” fair, with Driers’ family-owned cured meats and some soft and squishy coffee-can corn bread, an art fair, with live twangy music, more wineries (I think we hit 6 in all), and bigger waves in that freshwater “ocean” than I’ve seen in some parts of San Diego.

Back in Oak Park, Tim is nursing his crispy skin.  That much fun has some consequences.

(isn’t that a nice picture that andrea took?)

The garden’s been producing a lot of beans and zucchini lately. Probably due to the greenhouse like conditions we’ve been having lately. I still cook, just at 8 or 9pm usually. Tonight’s offering of zucchini and string beans was a stirfry with lots of fermented black beans and sichuan pepper corns (and chili paste, bean paste, ginger, scallions, rib meat, and sesame oil). Goes down nice with this hoegaarden by my side.

Today I worked on filling out my cad drawings for this new experimental chamber I mentioned yesterday. Here’s the latest version.

FIG 3. New environmental chamber for combined scattering and spectroscopy at solid oxide fuel cell conditions. A) Huber diffractometer, B) New access port (x4), C) Be window (x2), D) Be windowed port and collimator for Vortex detector and E) detail of sample and probe sensors

I guess I haven’t been taking many pictures of our food lately…which is odd since the food has been really, really good.  Here’s tonight’s offering: lamb burgers.  The kicker is that the lamb was from a farmer at the Oak Park market and was sooo tasty.  There’s mint and oregano from the garden in the burgers (along with garlic, cayenne, s&p, and some sheep’s milk feta), and I picked some of our own mesclun for the topping (and some caramelized onions and some peppers and more OPFM tomatoes).  Really good with a thick slice of watermelon.

Here’s another one I found in Andrea’s camera: catfish and the works.  You can tell that Andrea took this one.